I am so incredibly grateful for my friend Claire, who unwittingly gave me one of the best ideas I've had in a long time. Claire was just showing me photos what she'd been doing when she introduced me to her Mickey. Her Mickey had one of those new high tech brooms for his game of Quiddich.
I thought that was a cute idea and shortly afterwards, I happened to look in a closet and found Benny (so-called because I had a hat from Berklee College of Music with a "B" on it). I decided to try making pictures for the girls.
It has already been wonderfully successful. So far Benny has visited Logos, learned the abbacus, gone fishing, dressed up for Valentine's day, played Quiddich, and introduced his friend Happy.
The Happy idea came from Claire too, as Mickey has a friend he is occasionally photographed with. Happy has a long history with our family. Paul and I had a "thing" about smiley faces and I was tickled when I found this laughing doll, which I gave him one Christmas. Paul loved it and we laughed a lot with him. Paul's widow even took Happy to a Talking Heads concert, shortly after Paul died, and had him photographed with David Byrne and the rest of the Talking Heads. I hope somehow Paul knows that, because Byrne was his idol (he even wrote a song featuring him).
But I though it would be fun to add Happy to the mix and I have some ideas for things the two of them can do (like going on a picnic or playing cards). It also keeps the memory of Paul, whom Brianna never met, alive.
When I sent the first letter to Brianna, Tom texted that Benny was a big it. After I sent the quiddich picture, I got a great letter from her saying that maybe she and I could play quiddich next time she comes to visit (though I suspect i would need a Mickey-style broom to hold my weight!).
Three days later I got another letter from her with a picture of her monkey, Gasper, riding on a horse.
I don't know how long this is going to go on, but it was an inspired idea and I will forever be grateful to Claire for giving it to me. What a great way to keep a bond going between Brianna and me before she becomes a sullen teen ager who isn't interested in talking with her grandmother any more.